Smorgas Saturday

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This summer New Yorkers from all boroughs have been flocking to Brooklyn on the weekends for a food lovers heaven. Smorgasburg is a food flea market offering some of the most innovative and delicious treats. From flavored horseradish (‘Dish) and truffle honey samples to jumbo ice-cream sandwiches and ramen burgers; this place has a little bit of everything.

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The gates open at 11am and my recommendation is to arrive as early as humanly possible. We arrived at noon and were able to make a loop of the area with ample space to meander between vendors and no lines to wait in. By our second loop (about 12:45pm) the space was already getting tight and not even my hunger could justify the length of the lines at some of the top spots.
After committing to a few items (ice-cream, fancy lemonade, tacos and pizza), we took ourselves to the lawn and relaxed in front of the city view.

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When we had enough of the warm sun, we jumped in a cab and went down to DUMBO (the area where Smorgasburg is held on Sundays FYI) for a quick afternoon cocktail at Atrium.

A top-notch Saturday afternoon if I do say so myself.

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Little trivia for you: DUMBO means Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Underpass. Did you know that?

Summer lovin’

Summertime in the city is kind of an interesting situation. On one end, everyone clears out to go to the beach and escape the humidity. On the other end, there is so much to do and the city really comes alive with activities and events.

Even last year, with no more than a few pennies to rub together, my summer adventures were abundant. Free outdoor movies and concerts, block parties everywhere you turn, runs on the west side, and discovering a few places to bask in the sun or just stop and people watch. This year I’ve added Hoboken to the mix and so far it has surprised me with it’s hidden gems.The first things I have noticed is that in Hoboken the main ticket to summer is the opening of the piers; specifically Pier 13.

A few weekends ago, I got to experience it for the first time. Food trucks line an area leading up to a beer garden with grass, lawn chairs and games (think dominos, jenga, cards). It felt like a backyard shared among strangers (not as creepy as I’m making it sound I swear). It was casual hot weather fun and I cant wait to do it again.

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The summer also encourages spur of the moment late night adventures. Last night was one such evening for me as I walked with friends over the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn. I suggest doing this at night as the skyline is beautiful and the graffiti along the path is pretty neat. It’s also fun to walk along as the J train makes its way down the middle of the bridge.

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Our walk ended with dinner at Radegast Hall & Biergarten. Oddly enough it is owned by the same people as the Hoboken Beer garden I went to and was coincidentally where I celebrated my roommates birthday just a few weekends ago. Here are pictures from that weekend:

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More summer fun to come!

Food love and a new travel destination

One of the places I wish I visited while living in France was Northern Africa. For years the French people have taken their vacations in places like Tunisia and Morocco due to the proximity and the affordability. Although I’ve never taken one of these trips, I have recently found my plate filled with Mediterranean cuisine (which I am grouping as Moroccan, Greek, Arabic and Middle Eastern). I am not new to Mediterranean cuisine; in high school our friends used to meet at Arpeggios (a Mediterranean BYOB) sometimes simply for the pita and humus, and in college I almost always ordered the lamb souvlakia from Daves Taverna (the go to Grille), dipping my fries in the excess tzatziki sauce that dipped from the sandwich. Here in Hoboken, I found Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant, a very affordable and delicious place where you can fill a plate with an assortment of Baklava, Tabbouleh and stuffed grape seed leaves among other things. So although this cuisine isn’t a new discovery, I am just realizing how much I prefer it, especially after this weekend’s trip to Williamsburg and the realization that I had eaten a ton of food and didn’t feel the need to unbutton my pants.

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Café Mogador, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is not only adorably cute in its décor (we sat in a greenhouse type room with colorful throw pillows and neat light fixtures), but the food is beautiful as well. For our meal this weekend we ordered humus and matbucha to start. Matbucha, a cooked tomato and roasted bell pepper salad, was new for me and I found it nicely complemented the humus. For my meal I got the grilled merguez with basmati rice and veggies. It was served with a tzatziki sauce, brining me back to college, and an Arabic salad – extremely simple yet perfectly balanced with refreshing herbs and a tangy lemon vinaigrette. We ate a lot, and yet, as I find with this food, I didn’t have that stuffed feeling at the end. Café Mogador is also located in Manhattan’s East Village and I recommend it for those who enjoy this type of cuisine.

Honestly, Morocco wasn’t a place on my radar for travel before living in France, but since my recent food experiences I must say that it has jumped to a high-ranking on “places to go” to do list.

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Have you been to Morocco, Tunisia, or any middle Eastern or Mediterranean countries? Do you enjoy the food?

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